Communities of color, even once they have insurance, face barriers that can hinder access to those providers. Of those barriers, one of the most notable is the often limited availability of health care providers and facilities in communities of color. Today’s post outlines 10 tactics advocates can use to work with state and federal officials to help address these issues.
Federal Standardized Health Insurance Plans Could Help Improve Access to Care without Raising Premiums
Health insurance companies should offer marketplace plans that make the cost of basic outpatient care—like primary care, specialty care, and prescription drugs—affordable to consumers. This report shows that the new federal standardized silver plans will help consumers by covering this care before people meet their deductible.
April is National Minority Health Month and this year’s theme, accelerating health equity, reminds us that the quickening pace of change in the health arena provides strategic opportunities to narrow the disparities gaps between people of color and our white friends and neighbors. This month we celebrate the huge coverage gains among immigrants, several state initiatives to remove barriers to immigrant coverage, and Georgia’s big step toward making health insurance provider directories accurate and useful.
Many consumers have plans from 2014 and will simply opt to renew. And, for many, renewal is the best option. But, as our infographic shows, to make sure that they are getting the best plan this year, all consumers should head to the marketplace to shop for plans during open enrollment season.
Whether you’re renewing your plan or buying one for the first time, the questions in our infographic will help you choose the plan that’s right for you.
On September 2, HHS announced grants to organizations from 34 states to deliver the in-person assistance that has proven essential to the enrollment process. We congratulate all those who received funding and applaud HHS for continuing to support these critical positions. One big change this year is that HHS awarded the grants for three years, with 12-month budget cycles. This shift to three-year funding brings stability to enrollment assisters in the 34 states that receive federal funding for navigators.
The next big debate over the Affordable Care Act is looming. States are already planning for changes they'd like to make to the ACA using the new 1332 state innovation waivers. Beginning in 2017, the ACA permits states to apply for waivers to begin experimenting with strategies to provide residents with access to high-quality, affordable health insurance. But whether these new strategies will be helpful or harmful is still anyone’s guess.
Earlier this month, health equity advocates received an unexpected surprise when the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released new county-level enrollment data by race and ethnicity from the 37 states that use the federal health insurance marketplace. This level of data had never before been made available to the public.
Health care advocates across the nation are celebrating the milestone of nearly 11.7 million Americans gaining health insurance through the second open enrollment period of the Affordable Care Act. At the same time, the latest enrollment numbers from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have led some to characterize enrollment of communities of color as “lagging.” What is getting less attention is the new HHS data showing a huge reduction in the disproportionately high rates of uninsured people of color.
The second open enrollment period just ended—and it was a tremendous success. The fact that enrollment systems functioned much better this time around certainly made it easier for people to enroll. But there’s no doubt that the commitment and creativity of 23,000 certified application counselors, navigators, and in-person assisters across the country have made big contributions to enrollment gains. In this enrollment period, we saw navigators and assisters reach new heights of creativity as they strove to find consumers and help them sign up for health insurance.